Your Letters

Walter and Maureen Heaton's letter sent via email. Memories of cycling - does anyone know if the people mentioned are still cycling?

Hello Brian,

Gerald Marsden gave me your address. He grew up in Billinge Road a little lower down than my sister and I. We lived opposite "The Delph" a stone quarry that was finished working around the time that I was born 1934. He had a cousin Leonard who up to his death a few years ago was one of the top researchers in family history and worked at the centre down Library Street.

He was an only child and consequently had more toys than quite a few kids around there. His pride was a clockwork Hormby 1 1/4" gauge steam railway engine, complete with track and carriages. At that period I had a playmate by the name of George Cranston, we would go round to his place and go into the back yard. He would go into the house and return with this superb copy of the real thing. I am sure now that he did this just to watch the statement of envy on our two faces, because we were allowed to touch but not to play with it.

That was the age where the gas lamp lighter came round with his pole evenings and mornings, if you did not see him the ringing sound of his clog irons reminded you of his passing. When you saw the local Bobbie laboriously pedalling his way up the road one would duck behind the hedges or run into the house till he had gone past. Memories eh good ones. I never was a sports bloke the only exercise that I had was on a push bike.

Although I never joined them as far as money goes I started to go out with the members of The Wigan Cyclists touring club. C T C. Johnny Brown had a bike shop in Woodhouse Lane and he was the president I think. When I started to work at Walkers Pagefield Ironworks owned by Walmsleys Bury, I would go to the bike shop at lunchtime for bits and pieces for my bike which was not one of the better ones on account of cash. I had good times with these people. Three tandems were common on a Sundays outing. One with Johnny and his wife behind, Two more would be piloted by the Perrins boys, Norman and Jack with a blind couple, David ! and his wife I believe on the other one. Rushtons Warehouse was the town meeting place and the pub at Winwick for south bound excursions and the Cherry gardens for the northerly runs These trips alternated, one week north the next south. A favourite one was the Trough of Bowland on the northerly one with lunch in a wood cabin at Barton, midway between Preston and Garstang on the A6.

Two boys, Roland Ashurst, and Raymond Atherton were cycling mates of mine in those times, both living within 100 yards of my home and after a couple of years or so we moved on to the Premier Wheelers who had the meeting room at a pub at Higher Ince. This club was of younger patronage than the c t c, consequently did a bigger mileage at the weekend. They also entered races the 25 mile ones, training was on a couple of nights a week around a circuit in the Wrightington district, but I was not good enough to keep up with the fit ones and was dropped as the saying goes about anyone who cannot keep up the pace. One of my favourite Sunday runs by this time was Llangollen and over the Horseshoe pass after lunch. One of the degrading things about this run was the road up to the Horse Shoe Pass. It appeared to be quite flat but only the best riders cycled up, the rest of us walked that stretch. We would do 100 miles on that day. Harry and Joyce Maybury, brother and sister were two members from the Higher ince area. Betty Farnworth a girl from City Road Kitt Green who was responsible for introducing me to my wife Maureen when we were both sixteen. It would be interesting to know if any of our former folks are still pedalling. Seven years ago when I retired from the work force I got myself a second hand mountain bike and started to go out a couple of times a week and do a bit again.

Six months ago Maureen was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder which led to a full removal of, so now with the additional work load thrust upon me whilst she convalesces. Pedalling is another thing that has to take a back seat. Our youngest son of three, Barrie, now married with a 1 year old daughter Ruby is the bloke responsible for keeping me computering, and I have to admit when he kept on buying the hand held games when he was a teenager I kept on saying 'Waste of money' Keep up the good work. The first time that I got onto your web site there was a problem, but have been on it twice since.

The best thing that we ever did at 39 years of age was to bring our family to Aussie.

Kindest regards Walter and Maureen Heaton, Tasmania.

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